China’s power in Asia: rising, falling, or remaining steady?

About the talk:
China and the United States compete for influence on multiple dimensions in Asia – including in terms of military capability, economic relationships and cultural influence. The Lowy Institute’s Asia Power Index is a data-driven assessment, mapping the distribution of power between the two superpowers, as well as the region’s middle powers. Contrary to many expectations, China’s trajectory to surpassing US influence in Asia has not been smooth, and the 2023 edition of the Asia Power Index finds that the United States leads China on six out of eight measures of power, with China having paid a strategic cost for its protracted zero-COVID policies. This seminar will discuss the trajectory for China’s regional influence, especially in Southeast Asia, and the relative influence of other key players in the region, including the United States, India and Japan.  

About the speaker:
Susannah Patton is Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Lowy Institute and the Project Lead for the Asia Power Index, the Institute’s annual data-driven assessment that maps the changing distribution of power in the region. Her research on Southeast Asia is focused on strategic alignment dynamics and the roles of external powers including the United States, China and Australia. Before joining the Lowy Institute, Susannah was a Research Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre. Her commentary and analysis have featured in Australian and international outlets, including the New York TimesForeign PolicyAustralian Financial Review and The Interpreter. Before leaving government, she worked in various Southeast Asia-focused positions in the Australian government, including as a Senior Analyst in the Southeast Asia Branch at the Office of National Intelligence, in the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit Taskforce in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and as a diplomat in the Australian Embassy in Bangkok. Susannah holds first class honours degrees in law and political science from the Australian National University.

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